Monday, March 26, 2012

49er “Comes Home” from NYC

[The author, one of UNC Charlotte Alumni Association past presidents accepts a 49ers jersey from Chancellor Dubois]

By Parry Bliss

Homecoming is FUN.

Although I have stayed in touch with the University and followed the athletic program from afar, I have not attended a Homecoming for some time. In fact, one of the attempts to attend a Homecoming event was when Hurricane Hugo struck Charlotte the night before while I was fast asleep at the Hilton University Place – but that is another story.

This year, with encouragement from family and friends, I attended Homecoming.


I planned my arrival in Charlotte to allow me to have the maximum opportunity to enjoy North Carolina barbecue. One of my favorite barbecue restaurants is Bill Spoon's on South Boulevard. Having an outstanding lunch, I headed to the Hilton University Place to check in.

Then I met family and friends for dinner at the nearby Smokey Bones for another barbecue meal.


Having had my reorientation with Charlotte/BBQ/Family and Friends, I was ready for a tour of the fast changing University campus. I have always been proud of my University, but this tour given by Beth Fisher who is the director of principal gifts provided me with additional insights in ways that the University has grown and continues to grow. The tour ended in the Bonnie E. Cone Student Center where I had an excellent lunch at Bistro 49.

After lunch I meet with Melissa Shelton who is the director of development for the Belk College of Business. She gave me an in depth tour of the college, highlighting the dramatic renovations recently completed as well as the planned changes to come.

If you have not been on campus recently, I encourage you to renew your contacts with your college and you will be proud and impressed with the changes.

Time permitted me to meet briefly with John Snelsire who is the interim director of Alumni Affairs. We met at the Harris Alumni Center at Johnson Glen, which is truly impressive.

In the evening, I joined the past presidents of the UNC Charlotte Alumni Association for a brief presentation by Dr. Philip L. Dubois, chancellor, and dinner at the Harris Alumni Center.

Returning to the hotel, to my surprise, there were other alumni staying there and the evening ended with friends talking over old times.


The day started with tail-gate parties and the Homecoming Parade – families, friends and students all enjoying a crisp, clear day.

The Alumni Luncheon held in the Bonnie E. Cone Student Center and the Pre-Game Luncheon held at the Halton Arena were filled with friends and excitement about the University and the upcoming game with Rhode Island. Chancellor Dubois made a brief presentation at the Alumni Luncheon and presented a 49er football jersey to the alumni who traveled the greatest distance to attend the luncheon. Having come from New York City, I was happy to have won the jersey which I wear with 49er pride.

During the game, I was fortunate to be able to sit with Chancellor Dubois, Lisa Dubois, John McArthur who is a Foundation trustee, Misty Hathcock who is the chair of the Past Presidents Council and other friends that I have known since my days at UNC Charlotte. It was an exciting game and I'm happy to report that UNC Charlotte won.

I hope I have been able to convey the fun and excitement I had during this year’s Homecoming. What I’ve found is that Homecoming is a reconnection with family, friends, associates and the University. I encourage my fellow alumni to attend next year’s Homecoming and get in on the FUN. And, as we are supported by family and friends, let's not forget how the University prepared us for what we have or will accomplish in our lives. Let's not forget to support our University as it continues to prepare others for what they will accomplish.

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